Shale deals in Pennsylvania reach $882 million

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Mergers, acquisitions and partnerships that happened across Appalachia's gas fields were enough to make the Marcellus Shale and the Utica Shale the country's second- and third-most popular formations for big-ticket deals in the first quarter of 2013, according to an analysis released Wednesday by PwC.

The report found three transactions totaling $882 million in the first three months of the year related to development in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale gas fields, about the same amount spent during the same quarter one year ago.

The analysis studied energy mergers and transactions nationwide worth more than $50 million. Those deals can include acquisitions, investments or partnerships that allow companies to split the costs associated with oil and gas development.

Two deals in Ohio's Utica Shale formation were worth $283 million, more than double the $112 million spent there in the first quarter of 2012.

Only the Eagle Ford formation in Texas saw more transactions during the quarter, with five deals worth $5.1 billion. The Bakken Shale of North Dakota had one deal worth $513 million.

Overall, the quarterly report prepared by the New York-based firm found a nationwide total of 39 oil and gas deals each worth more than $50 million. In total, the energy sector spent $27 billion on deals in the first quarter -- a slight year-over-year increase from 2012's $25.7 billion.

But on a sequential basis, the amount spent dropped about 52 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012. Researchers said the fourth quarter is traditionally a busy one, and last year was a unique case as companies rushed to make deadlines related to the fiscal cliff legislation.

Foreign interest in American oil and gas development dropped during the first quarter, with nine deals worth a total of $4.1 billion involving international buyers. That's down about $1.8 billion from last year.

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Erich Schwartzel: eschwartzel@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1455.


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